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[The Economist] "Nobody knows who this strange man really is"

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Batman Jones, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. Batman Jones

    Batman Jones Contributing Member

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    http://www.economist.com/node/21560864?frsc=dg|a

    The presidency
    So, Mitt, what do you really believe?
    Too much about the Republican candidate for the presidency is far too mysterious

    Aug 25th 2012 | from the print edition


    WHEN Mitt Romney was governor of liberal Massachusetts, he supported abortion, gun control, tackling climate change and a requirement that everyone should buy health insurance, backed up with generous subsidies for those who could not afford it. Now, as he prepares to fly to Tampa to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president on August 30th, he opposes all those things. A year ago he favoured keeping income taxes at their current levels; now he wants to slash them for everybody, with the rate falling from 35% to 28% for the richest Americans.

    All politicians flip-flop from time to time; but Mr Romney could win an Olympic medal in it (see article). And that is a pity, because this newspaper finds much to like in the history of this uncharismatic but dogged man, from his obvious business acumen to the way he worked across the political aisle as governor to get health reform passed and the state budget deficit down. We share many of his views about the excessive growth of regulation and of the state in general in America, and the effect that this has on investment, productivity and growth. After four years of soaring oratory and intermittent reforms, why not bring in a more businesslike figure who might start fixing the problems with America’s finances?

    Details, details

    But competence is worthless without direction and, frankly, character. Would that Candidate Romney had indeed presented himself as a solid chief executive who got things done. Instead he has appeared as a fawning PR man, apparently willing to do or say just about anything to get elected. In some areas, notably social policy and foreign affairs, the result is that he is now committed to needlessly extreme or dangerous courses that he may not actually believe in but will find hard to drop; in others, especially to do with the economy, the lack of details means that some attractive-sounding headline policies prove meaningless (and possibly dangerous) on closer inspection. Behind all this sits the worrying idea of a man who does not really know his own mind. America won’t vote for that man; nor would this newspaper. The convention offers Mr Romney his best chance to say what he really believes.

    There are some areas where Mr Romney has shuffled to the right unnecessarily. In America’s culture wars he has followed the Republican trend of adopting ever more socially conservative positions. He says he will appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court and back the existing federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA). This goes down well with southern evangelicals, less so with independent voters: witness the furore over one (rapidly disowned) Republican’s ludicrous remarks about abortion and “legitimate rape” (see article). But the powers of the federal government are limited in this area; DOMA has not stopped a few states introducing gay marriage and many more recognising gay civil partnerships.

    The damage done to a Romney presidency by his courting of the isolationist right in the primaries could prove more substantial. He has threatened to label China as a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency. Even if it is unclear what would follow from that, risking a trade war with one of America’s largest trading partners when the recovery is so sickly seems especially mindless. Some of his anti-immigration policies won’t help, either. And his attempts to lure American Jews with near-racist talk about Arabs and belligerence against Iran could ill serve the interests of his country (and, for that matter, Israel’s).

    Once again, it may be argued that this will not matter: previous presidents pandered to interest groups and embraced realpolitik in office. Besides, this election will be fought on the economy. This is where Manager Romney should be at his strongest. But he has yet to convince: sometimes, again, being needlessly extremist, more often evasive and vague.

    In theory, Mr Romney has a detailed 59-point economic plan. In practice, it ignores virtually all the difficult or interesting questions (indeed, “The Romney Programme for Economic Recovery, Growth and Jobs” is like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the sex). Mr Romney began by saying that he wanted to bring down the deficit; now he stresses lower tax rates. Both are admirable aims, but they could well be contradictory: so which is his primary objective? His running-mate, Paul Ryan, thinks the Republicans can lower tax rates without losing tax revenues, by closing loopholes. Again, a simpler tax system is a good idea, but no politician has yet dared to tackle the main exemptions. Unless Mr Romney specifies which boondoggles to axe, this looks meaningless and risky.

    On the spending side, Mr Romney is promising both to slim Leviathan and to boost defence spending dramatically. So what is he going to cut? How is he going to trim the huge entitlement programmes? Which bits of Mr Ryan’s scheme does he agree with? It is a little odd that the number two has a plan and his boss doesn’t. And it is all very well promising to repeal Barack Obama’s health-care plan and the equally gargantuan Dodd-Frank act on financial regulation, but what exactly will Mr Romney replace them with—unless, of course, he thinks Wall Street was well-regulated before Lehman went bust?

    Playing dumb is not an option

    Mr Romney may calculate that it is best to keep quiet: the faltering economy will drive voters towards him. It is more likely, however, that his evasiveness will erode his main competitive advantage. A businessman without a credible plan to fix a problem stops being a credible businessman. So does a businessman who tells you one thing at breakfast and the opposite at supper. Indeed, all this underlines the main doubt: nobody knows who this strange man really is. It is half a decade since he ran something. Why won’t he talk about his business career openly? Why has he been so reluctant to disclose his tax returns? How can a leader change tack so often? Where does he really want to take the world’s most powerful country?

    It is not too late for Mr Romney to show America’s voters that he is a man who can lead his party rather than be led by it. But he has a lot of questions to answer in Tampa.
     
  2. dharocks

    dharocks Contributing Member

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    Of course, for tens of millions of voters it doesn't matter. He's not Obama.

    This doesn't really bring up anything new, but it's a good article and what's kind of interesting is the source.
     
  3. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    The problem is that Mitt cannot run as that guy with the current GOP base. So, he's just decided to go along with whatever the Teabaggers want.
     
  4. cml750

    cml750 Member

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    I have never liked Romney because of this. He has been on both sides of the issues on several things that are very important to me. I do however have to vote for him because Obama is on the WRONG side of all this issues for my personal views. For that matter, I never really liked McCain, Bush, or Dole. I simply voted for the lesser of two evils in my view. The last time I voted for a candidate that I REALLY liked was Bush 41, however I quickly started disliking him after he took office. I long for a Ronald Reagan clone. :grin:
     
  5. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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  6. cml750

    cml750 Member

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  7. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    If you live in Texas, your vote is pointless anyway. You might as well make a tiny statement about the absurdity of a two party system where both are owned by the same money as put Romneybot over the top with 67% instead of 66%.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. cml750

    cml750 Member

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    You have a point however I would be scared too many people may do the same thing in Texas accidentally giving the state to Obama. It's a chance I can't take. lol
     
  9. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    Conservatives...always so scared.
     
  10. cml750

    cml750 Member

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    I admit an Obama second term scares the heck out of me!!
     
  11. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    relax little camper, the K street lobbyist and obstructionist House will make your forever unchanging.
     
  12. Batman Jones

    Batman Jones Contributing Member

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    With regard to policy, since the advent of the bizarre tea party and its absurd influence on the GOP, Obama is closer to Reagan than Romney is. Way closer.
     
  13. ChrisBosh

    ChrisBosh Member

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    The media never talks about leftist candidates in this manner. Every politician is elusive to their positions whenever its to their advantage. The economy is bound to take another tumble, saying just enough is the best strategy for him. Eventually he'll have to have some sort of rhetoric to preach, he just doesn't need to start it at this point in time.
     
  14. RedRedemption

    RedRedemption Contributing Member

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    This mentality is why he has a 0% chance of winning.
     
  15. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/cyKYiJkvg98" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    ...honestly, Reagan the legend wouldn't live up to a real Reagan. Current conservatives would think he was a borderline pinko liberal by today's standards if here were around today. You wouldn't like him in practice. He's like your first girlfriend or something. The legend grows larger in memory.
     
  16. esteban

    esteban Member

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    President Romney went door to door trying to covert Frenchies for 2 1/2 years, you don't think that takes guts and builds characters?

    I echoed my fellow conservatives in here that president Romney was not my first choice. One thing for sure is that I can finally criticize our president again without being called a racist.

    B Kardashians...your days are numbered.

    "Love him, Hate him, You don't know him"
    2016
     
  17. Haymitch

    Haymitch Custom Title
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    I didn't realize the Presidential race was a horse race. I thought that those who voted were supposed to pick the man they thought best suited for the job. But I'm just being an ass here. I don't vote.
    [​IMG]

    QFT. You have a much better chance of dying on your way to the voting booth than you have of your vote actually making a difference. Which of these two candidates are you willing to die for?
     
  18. MrRoboto

    MrRoboto Member

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    He'll be anyone you want him to be as long as he gets his 51%. He said as much in his own words.
     
  19. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    Yep! Spine of steel that one.
     
  20. CCorn

    CCorn Member

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    Enough votes for Johnson could show the GOP it's time to reform.

    Romney isn't going to win anyways, if there has ever been a time to vote Libertarian it is now.
     

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